ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- When a disconsolate Andrew Golota returned to his dressing room early yesterday morning after a ninth-round disqualification again cost him an apparent victory over former heavyweight champion Riddick Bowe, he started pounding his head in anguish.
"Golota kept hitting himself and saying, 'I stupid, I stupid, I stupid,' " said co-trainer Lou Duva.
Most of the 12,013 spectators at the Convention Center would not argue the point. Golota's self-destructive nature probably cost him a championship shot next year, plus countless millions in potential boxing earnings.
Saturday night's loss was his second disqualification in six months for repeated fouls. The only difference was that it took Golota two more rounds this time than at Madison Square Garden in July.
Incredibly, the rematch ended with Bowe again writhing in pain on the canvas after a final blatant low blow caused referee Ed Cotton to stop the fight.
Once again, Bowe had been beaten soundly by Golota. He could not offer the excuse this time that he was overconfident and under-trained. Bowe weighed a slim 235 pounds.
But Golota floored Bowe twice, had him in constant trouble and was leading on all three judges' cards despite having two points deducted for a head butt in the second round and his first low blow in the fourth.
"How can it happen, not once, but twice?" said Golota's close friend, Wojciech Zisbowicz, who works for a newspaper and television station in Golota's native Poland.
"I cannot call Andrew stupid," Zisbowicz said. "I know he is a smart person. I am totally shocked. I find in my heart I can't even talk to him for a few days. He would have been on top of the heavyweight division. Now, he has wasted a second chance. It is incomprehensible."
Duva, who is seldom rendered speechless, also found Golota's actions inexplicable.
"This is the most frustrating thing we've been involved in with boxing," said Duva, who has been part of the fight scene for 50 years.
"He has all the tools. Why does he have to resort to fouling? In training camp, he performed like a champion. We pleaded with him in every language to fight a clean fight this time.
"After the fifth round, we knew he was winning and had Bowe on the verge of a knockout. We told him, 'Forget the body, stay away from the ropes, jab and box. If you do anything that looks like a foul, they'll penalize you.' I can't defend him. I wish I could."
Duva said he and co-trainer Roger Bloodworth would wait a few weeks before speaking with Golota about his future.
"He will have to decide if he wants to be a professional boxer or just a barroom brawler and alley fighter," Duva said.
Golota was not around to speak for himself. He was taken to a hospital after the fight after complaining of numbness in his jaw. It was not broken.
Asked whether he would be willing to fight Golota a third time, Bowe, whose speech sounded slurred, said: "No way. I may look dumb, but I ain't stupid."
Bowe's future seems almost as muddled as Golota's. There was talk about a possible match with Lennox Lewis if Lewis beats Oliver McCall in February for the vacant World Boxing Council title.
Despite showing tremendous courage, Bowe, 29, appears to be damaged goods, exhibiting little or no defense except for borrowing Muhammad Ali's rope-a-dope tactics to buy time.
His manager, Rock Newman, said he would have to evaluate Bowe's health before making plans.
Said Newman: "Riddick is like my little brother. When he gets hurt in training, I hate it. And when he gets hit by a big ox like Golota, I hate it even more.
"One of Riddick's problems was inactivity. This was only his second fight in a year. Technically, he fights better when he keeps busy.
"But Evander Holyfield went through the same rough times and came back and whipped Mike Tyson."
As the post-fight news conference wound down, a man asked Bowe, "Did you win the fight?"
"Didn't he get disqualified?" Bowe countered. "Yes, I beat him. He fouled me because I was getting ready to knock him out."
That sounded as ludicrous as casting Golota as Santa Claus. Bowe can only be thankful that Golota either lacks ring smarts or is just plain ornery.
Pub Date: 12/16/96